Regional government officials and major stakeholders in the travel industry are lauding Inter Caribbean Airways’ inaugural non-stop flight from Barbados to Jamaica.
This new initiative is seen as a catalyst in the wider development of inter-regional travel for business people, vacationers and students.
In an event that coincided with the company celebrating its 32nd anniversary of operations and with aims to extend its network to various regional destinations.
Dubbed by the hospitality industry professionals as the “Irie Flight”, the experience helped to forge bonds of friendship and collaboration among mutual partners in regional tourism. Inter Caribbean Airways operates approximately 60 to 80 flights daily, while accommodating over 20,000 passengers per day.
“Direct non-stop routes are always popular with travelers and will extend its outreach with this new route,” said Fernando Vistrain, CEO PAC Kingston Airport Ltd., at the media launch, on Tuesday, in Kingston.
He said regional travellers move about for multiple reasons that entails works duties, education, cricket, carnival and to see family and friends.
The airport services official says this new venture will provide “greater opportunity for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and to make regional travel that much easier”.
“Today, marks a significant milestone of direct air service between these two islands, bringing our Caribbean family closer together,” declared Richard Gibbs, of the Airport Authority of Jamaica.
“As Inter Caribbean Airways begins its direct services to Jamaica, we are confident that our travellers will experience the warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage that our island is renowned for,” he said.
Gibbs described this inaugural flight as not just a journey across the Caribbean, but “a bridge connecting people, cultures and economies symbolizing our shared vision for a more connected Caribbean where the beauty, diversity and synergy throughout our region can be more easily explored and appreciated by all.”
He said Inter Caribbean Airways will provide travellers with new routes, which underscores the airline’s commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and providing passengers with more travel options and convenience.
The new route is also envisioned as important for students travelling across the two campuses and in the region.
Dr. Jeanese Badenock, Dean of the Faculty of Science, UWI Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, noted that the venture is a “historic landmark” that underscores “the significance of regional connectivity and collaboration.”
The UWI official added, It will provide both students and staff with a direct access pathway much-needed to truly realise the goal of true Caribbean integration.
Dr. Badenock noted that inaugural flight stands “as a symbol of hope, progress and prosperity and may it inspire us to dream bigger, aim higher and reach new heights.”
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Director for the Caribbean Graham Clarke described the occasion as a “historic landmark being created by Inter Caribbean”.
He said the occasion marks a significant development, not just for Jamaica and Barbados but for enhancing regional travel in the Caribbean.
The Barbadian tourism official stated that it is “a new era in Caribbean travel”, which provides added opportunities for the Caribbean traveller and “fosters new connections as a Caribbean people.”
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett noted that this venture would “strengthen bonds between our cultures, fostering a sense of unity and shared destiny”.
He added: “This fight is a testament to the power of connectivity and the belief that through collaboration we can achieve greater heights.”
Inter Caribbean Airways founder and chairman, and visionary entrepreneur Lyndon Gardiner was beaming with pride as he acknowledged the accolades, while noting that it was a “special day to celebrate this inaugural non-stop service,”.
He said the airline remains committed to advancing regional travel and “this new service will also have a tremendous economic impact, boosting trade, tourism, and job creation.” between Jamaica and Barbados and the southern Caribbean islands.”
Gardiner asserted: “The skies are open to new business and opportunity …and we are committed to forging more of this among groups to bring the Caribbean closer together.”